Box CEO Aaron Levie sitting on a chair posing for a photo.
Box CEO Aaron Levie's team scored high marks in Gartner's Magic Quadrant on Content Collaboration Platforms. PHOTO: Robert Scoble

Wipe the term Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) off your jargon list and replace it with the evolving concept of what Gartner is calling "Content Collaboration Platforms" (CCP).

The research firm released its Magic Quadrant for Content Collaborations Platforms report (fee required) July 25.

The shift isn’t really all that surprising. 

After all, Gartner has been hinting at EFSS extinction since 2014. Last year analysts Monica Basso, Karen A. Hobert and Jeffrey Mann came right out and predicted a “vanishing act" among EFSS vendors, with survivors moving in two different directions: “They will either modernize corporate infrastructures or empower the digital workplace,” they wrote.

Empowering the Digital Workplace

The leaders in the new Content Collaboration Platforms Magic Quadrant do the latter.

Before discussing the "Leaders" selected for the coveted upper right hand corner of the MQ, it’s worth looking at the criteria that CCP MQ authors Monica Basso, Karen A. Hobert and Michael Woodbridge used to define the market.

The New EFSS?

The CCP evolution saw EFSS offerings expand well beyond file synching and sharing, to enable “content-driven collaboration among individuals and teams, lightweight content management and file-centric workflows,” according to Gartner.

Thirteen vendors — Accellion, Axway (Syncplicity), BlackBerry, Box, Citrix, CTERA, Dropbox, Egnyte, Google, HighQ, Intralinks by Synchronoss, Microsoft and Thru — qualified for consideration.

It’s also worth noting that a large number of vendors, including AeroFS, Amazon WorkDocs (as part of AWS,) Autotask, CodeLathe, Egress Software Technologies, EISOO, IBM, ownCloud, Vaultize and Workshare just missed the mark because their revenues were too low, their deployment sizes were too small or their geographical coverage areas were too limited. 

In other words, for the also-rans, the technology is there but the sales and marketing are still missing.

All that being said, here are Gartner’s inaugural CCP MQ Leaders:

CCP MQ Leaders

Box Leads for ‘Completeness of Vision’

Redwood City, Calif.-based Box rules, especially when it comes to "completeness of vision."

The MQ’s authors applauded Box’s “enhanced capabilities on content transformation, streaming, real-time editing and machine learning, [which leverages] artificial intelligence technologies,” as well as its developers’ program. 

However, the analysts warned that Box’s “cloud only” service can’t handle files over 15GB, that upload speeds can be slow and that its pricing can be confusing.

Microsoft Scores on Ability to Execute

Microsoft’s OneDrive for Business (ODB) outranked all competitors where "ability to execute" was concerned. The analysts highlighted the “seamless user experience” that ODB provides for Microsoft applications users, “especially when working with enterprise content in SharePoint.” Security also ranked highly. 

Two areas where ODB still needs to improve include offering native connectors to some enterprise content repositories and providing reporting capabilities beyond 90 days.

Dropbox Wins with Desktop Synchronization

San Francisco-based Dropbox stood out for its fast and reliable desktop synchronization, the integrations that developers within its partner ecosystem have built and the user experience it provides for both workers and IT.

However, Dropbox shoppers should carefully consider its lack of turnkey integration with some ECMs like Microsoft SharePoint, OpenText Documentum Content Server and IBM FileNet, analysts noted.

Citrix Gives Users File Storage Choices

MQ authors applauded Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Citrix ShareFile for its hybrid architecture and private storage model, which allows customers to choose between storing and managing data in Citrix's cloud, in on-premises private data storage (Citrix's ShareFile StorageZones) or in supported third-party cloud storage.

This is something that the likes of Box and Dropbox do not do. The analysts also gave Citrix high marks for customer support and connectivity to Citrix’s virtualized products. 

According to Gartner, Citrix is in the process of working to eliminate some of its shortcomings like lack of FedRAMP compliance and integration with productivity apps like Slack, HipChat and Google Docs.

Google’s Enterprise Productivity Offerings Come of Age

Mountain View, Calif.-based Google might finally have its enterprise productivity platform taken seriously, with Google Drive sitting at its center and Google Docs, Google Sheets and Google Slides acting as supporting players to provide for browser-based content creation and collaboration.

Gartner analysts highlighted Google Drive’s AI capabilities, which incorporate machine learning and natural language processing for classification and search. Yet, according to the analysts, Google Drive falls short on providing features like international data sovereignty and residency, policy-driven storage locations and regional cloud implementations.

Syncplicity APIs Score Well

Phoenix-based Syncplicity by Axway made it into the Leaders quadrant once again, despite the fact that Syncplicity has changed hands more than once over the past few years.

Gartner likes Syncplicity’s object storage APIs and content repositories like Microsoft SharePoint and OpenText Documentum, as well as its many compliance certifications such as FedRAMP, FERPA, FISMA, HIPAA and ITAR. 

On the caution side, Gartner analysts noted that Syncplicity “lacks team collaboration and project management support” features, such as likes, tasks and the ability to comment on files and folders.

Egntye Earns High Marks for Enterprise Governance

Mountain View, Calif.-based Egnyte earned high marks from Gartner for its governance and control at the enterprise layer, and its "intelligence" in utilizing machine learning and social graphs to drive automation activities.

But the analysts judged Egnyte’s lack of content management features to be “limiting” and its storage sync functionality to be “immature.”

A Wealth of Great Choices

More than half of the vendors in the Content Collaboration Platforms MQ were rated as Leaders, leaving enterprise buyers with many good choices. 

It’s worth noting, too, that vendors in other quadrants also have much to offer and should be also be considered, based on your particular needs. 

After all, in content collaboration, it’s less about who leads or wins and more about what works best for you and your team.